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Geography and social networks. Modelling the effects of territorial borders on policy networks

  • SOHN Christophe
  • CHRISTOPOULOS Dimitris
  • KOSKINEN Johan
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    The present paper examines the importance of integrating geographic contextual effects into the analysis of social networks. By considering spatial structures as both produced by and productive of social relations, geographic space seems to be more than the extent on which places, actors or events are located and separated by distance. Territoriality, bordering processes, the sense of place, spatial inequalities, scalar relations and spatial connectivity are among the socio-spatial arrangements and practices that are likely to affect social action. The present empirical analysis thus focuses on policy interactions within the cross-border region of Lille because the spatial dimension particularly influences relations in this area. Specifically, we examine three spatial effects, namely, distance, territorial borders and cross-border territoriality, and we use exponential random graph models to model how these contextual variables influence policy interactions. By addressing multiple spatial effects, we develop a specific approach to control for the interactions that occur between these variables in order to elaborate on the complex processes that lead to the formation of social networks. We also explicitly examine how the spatial interaction function is affected by including in the analysis endogenous network effects, exogenous covariates and border factors. In this regard, we use a novel Monte Carlo-based goodness-of-fit summary in order to demonstrate that the predicted spatial interaction function of our model – net of other effects – matches the empirical spatial interaction function.

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    Paper provided by LISER in its series LISER Working Paper Series with number 2013-19.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2013-19
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    1. Markus Perkmann, 2007. "Policy entrepreneurship and multilevel governance: a comparative study of European cross-border regions," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(6), pages 861-879, December.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
    3. Diana Mok & Barry Wellman & Juan Carrasco, 2010. "Does Distance Matter in the Age of the Internet?," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 47(13), pages 2747-2783, November.
    4. Hunter, David R. & Goodreau, Steven M. & Handcock, Mark S., 2008. "Goodness of Fit of Social Network Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103, pages 248-258, March.
    5. M. T. Gastner & M. E.J. Newman, 2006. "The spatial structure of networks," The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 247-252, 01.
    6. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
    7. Angela Abbate & Luca De Benedictis & Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Tajoli, 2012. "The International Trade Network in Space and Time," LEM Papers Series 2012/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    8. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
    9. Alexander Erath & Michael Löchl & Kay Axhausen, 2009. "Graph-Theoretical Analysis of the Swiss Road and Railway Networks Over Time," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 379-400, September.
    10. Henk van Houtum, 1999. "Internationalisation and Mental Borders," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 90(3), pages 329-335, 08.
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